We live in a world that’s incredibly fast paced- and with technology ever changing, it’s up to the rest of the world to either keep up or get left behind. While new, modern and more efficient methods are only a good thing, it does add another element of stress to you as an entrepreneur because it’s so easy to be left in the dark. You only need to take a look at businesses like Blockbuster to see how important it is to stay with the times; when video streaming took off they refused to keep up, and as a result this multi billion dollar company closed its doors in 2013. Staying up to date with technology will allow you to maintain a level playing field with your competitors as well as do things in the most efficient way. It means your business is able to adapt and move with the times, so that it’s not rendered obsolete. But how exactly can you ensure that your business is staying up to date, and you’re not unwittingly using outdated methods?
Modernise Your Office
Your office is at the heart of your business, it’s where the daily processes that keep your business running happen. Studies have shown that a pleasant working environment in a nice office helps to boost employees mood and in turn their productivity. You don’t need to have the biggest budget to invest in a huge luxurious office with floor to ceiling windows in the middle of the city. But it is important to make the most of the space that you have. Give the walls a coat of paint in a light, neutral shade to bounce the light around. Replace the carpets if they need it, even if you’re renting an office you’ll be permitted to make these kinds of changes. Get the lighting right, overly harsh or too dim lighting can lead to headaches, eye strain and even pose a health and safety risk. Badly lit corridors and corners for example could be concealing tripping hazards. One of the best ways to modernise your office is to adjust the layout. Successful companies such as Google and Pixar focus on collaborative areas which encourage teamwork and problem solving. You could aim to have larger tables for group work, with some individual desks or booths for things like private phone calls or one on one meetings with customers or clients. The layout of your office should feel spacious and it should be easy for staff members to move around. Position desks close to windows to make the most of the natural light, which research shows will boost productivity in the workplace. Upgrade your furniture to ergonomically designed desks and chairs which will help your staff to stay comfortable and avoid health issues like neck and back strain.
Re-Train Your Staff
One of the key things to running a successful business over time is adapting and moving with what the consumer wants. It means constantly adjusting and ensuring that you’re meeting customer demand. This however means that your employees roles are also changing, even if only slightly. The best way to ensure that everyone is up to scratch with their job is to refresh their training regularly. You could have a company come into your workplace to help them brush up their skills, or you could send them away to training days. You could set goals and targets and reward them when these are met, that way you can track their progress and can see if they’re performing well or lagging behind. One way to improve your employee’s performance is to improve their motivation. Again rewards are a fantastic way to do this, but a little praise for your workers also goes a long way. Make it part of your routine to assess your staff’s performance and praise those who have done particularly well. Be sure that you’re an approachable boss who workers are happy coming to with any issues, and create a nice working environment overall. This includes being very strict with any signs of workplace bullying, you could have an anonymous reporting system. Team building activities for staff are also effective, and this can be fun too. Companies all over offer things like escape rooms and treasure hunts for workplaces which can be great for improving communication and bringing everyone together. When your staff have the right skills, knowledge and experience they can fulfil their role to their best potential and do their best work for you. It can also reduce stress levels for them, as they don’t feel as though they’re out of their depth.
Update Your Software Systems
The right software is absolutely vital when you’re running a business. Doing things manually or using outdated systems will seriously slow you down, reduce productivity, efficiency and could be the difference between success and failure. There are different softwares for all different areas of your business, from finance such as accounting and payroll software to legal software which allows you to create legally binding documents without the need for a lawyer each time. You can get HR software to assist your human relations team which includes things like holiday booking, absence tracking and rota planning. There’s presentation software to help your sales team, customer relationship management software to give people a customised experience of your business and so much more. You can use third party software, or go a step further and have programs created specifically for your business. From neural networks modeling which are systems loosely based on the human brain, and nervous system to different kinds of software architectures and much more. Seek professional help here, find the very best systems for you and utilise these to stay efficient and prevent your business from lagging behind. While you will never be able to fully automate things and will still need human workers (for the time being!) it can certainly make them more efficient and productive. You also save money as you’re not hiring additional workers and paying for their time, for tasks that software can do for seconds- for free!
Get Your Head in the Cloud
Using ‘the Cloud’ refers to storing and accessing your data through an internet connection as opposed to on backup drives or just on your device. When you use cloud computing, it allows you to access your information virtually, which creates a flexible and global way of accessing data regardless of where you are in the world. Modern business have got on board with the idea that it can be highly beneficial to allow employees to work from home in some cases, and so cloud based systems are essential in these cases. It means you can hire anyone from anywhere in the world and they’re able to access the information they need and do their work. You can run many of the above softwares through the cloud which allows you to fully sync up all areas of your business. In terms of safety, cloud computing is very safe as all of your information is encrypted. It’s far safer than keeping it on a computer, which can be stolen, damaged by a virus or even damaged by things like fire or flood. It’s something you really need to get on board with as a modern business.
Keep on Learning
Finally, when it comes to business there’s always something new to be learned. Even if you’re a successful and established entrepreneur who has set up and profited from many companies, you’re never going to know everything. When things change so quickly and move as technology and consumer demand does, it’s our job as a company owner to be able to keep up. Don’t get complacent, always stay sharp and keep learning. Keep an eye on the news for the latest advances, changes in the world can filter down and affect you. You need to know how to adapt, change or respond to stay up to date. Keep an eye on your competitors, and do what you can to keep you and your staff with the times. Training days, seminars, events, presentations- these are all things you could attend to help you learn more. You could even consider getting further education that could help you in your venture. You don’t even have to go back to college or university full time, you can study online at home in a flexible way. Whether you gain qualifications in business or a related topic like finance, management or even psychology, these are all things that could help you progress. You could also consider sending select staff members on these kinds of courses.
Even if business seems to be going well, it’s not a time to feel smug. Always be looking to the future, keeping an eye on current events or technological advances to give you an idea of changes you may need to make. Keep up to date, don’t lag behind as your outdated methods will surely jeopardise your success.
As a business owner, what do you do to ensure you’re staying up to date?
Founder Dinis Guarda
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